New Zealand’s Killer Whales Ride Killer Waves

New Zealand’s Killer Whales Ride Killer Waves

Dolphins and porpoises surf, and so do sea lions, and while killer whales have long been known to drop into glassy-faced steamers every now and then, rarely is a photographer around to catch the action. But last week in New Zealand, the resident population of Kiwi orcas spent three days taking advantage of a choice swell at Sandy Bay, Northland, and the session was caught by several photographers, including newspaper photographer Michael Cunningham, who was body surfing when the first group of killer whales arrived.


orca surfing new zealand | adventure journal
If this were a cheesy, general interest publication, the lede for this story might be “Orcabunga, dude!” Instead, it’s a cheesy, adventure-oriented publication, which would never deign to trite cliches and puns. Never.

Orcabunga, dude!

Dolphins and porpoises surf, and so do sea lions, and while killer whales have long been known to drop into glassy-faced steamers every now and then, rarely is a photographer around to catch the action. But last week in New Zealand, the resident population of Kiwi orcas spent three days taking advantage of a choice swell at Sandy Bay, Northland, and the session was caught by several photographers, including newspaper photographer Michael Cunningham, who was body surfing when the first group of killer whales arrived.

Cunningham first saw a dark line in the water, which he mistook for another surfer, and then watched as three adult orcas and a calf dropped into a wave.

The mammals cruised Sandy Bay until they found the section with the best waves, he said.

“They knew what they were doing and pulled out before getting into trouble. They looked like they’d done it before.”

Although orcas aren’t known to have attacked humans, the Northern Advocate shooter exited the surf quickly.

“I didn’t have anything to sit on and with most of my body under the water, it felt a bit freaky,” he said.

Via Northern Advocate, HT to Grind.

Orca surfing New Zealand | Adventure JournalOrca surfing New Zealand | Adventure JournalOrca surfing New Zealand | Adventure Journal

Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal.
Showing 7 comments
  • Monica
    Reply

    Wow ~ Love this!

  • Kiwivic
    Reply

    wow, I would love to have seen this, when i lived in Wellington I saw orcas in the harbour quite a bit but no surf in there! beautiful photos

  • Amy
    Reply

    This is so cool!! He seems to be having a blast out there. Could you imagine seeing that come toward you in the surf. What great pictures!!!

  • Carlos Carrillo
    Reply

    Surf’s up!

  • Lee
    Reply

    So cool! You’re consistency in providing this kind of content is what makes me a fan of Adventure Journal and inspires me to tell all my friends that they should be too!

  • sally
    Reply

    AWESOME!!!!

  • Bill Ennis
    Reply

    amazing, they own it !!

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